Category Archives: Art History

ARTIST MOVIES

I LOVE to watch movies about artists. Watching Art movies, the non-fiction kind, is a great way to tag along for a few minutes with an artist. But, be prepared, the drama is usually high and intense!

Artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh, or Pablo Picasso could qualify for the high drama category.

Drama in a less intense key, or of an unusual nature, and seriously engaging could have Renoir, Salvador Dali, Turner, or Mary Cassatt.

Drama and situation where you might feel a sense of real time injustice … even though the artist lived in the 1600’s… that would be artist, Artemisia Gentileschi. A female artist in a time when the art world was pretty much male dominated and women were limited in what they were permitted to paint. And, to make matters worse, Artemisia was raped. This went to trial. It was her trauma that influenced her art. You can read a little about it here:

“The trauma of the rape and trial impacted on Artemisia’s painting. Her graphic depictions were cathartic and symbolic attempts to deal with the physical and psychic pain. The heroines of her art, especially Judith, are powerful women exacting revenge on such male evildoers as the Assyrian general Holofernes”  You can read more here:  http://www.artemisia-gentileschi.com/ 

This is one of Artemisia’s paintings.

Judith & Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi

The crux of the story of Biblical Judith, (and Artemisia’s painting) goes like this:

  • Biblical Judith becomes aware that the town she lives in is about to be destroyed. Their water source is cut off.

  • Holofernes, a very mean General in Nebuchadnezzar’s army is to lead the siege. The town is about to surrender.

  • Judith is not happy about this and takes things into her own hands. She makes a plan.

  • Gains attention by the way she dresses, gets a meeting with Holofernes. Promises Holofernes she can tell God to lead him to success with the siege.

  • Judith tricks and seduces Holofernes. He becomes drunk. Judith beheads him. Hands the head to her maidservant.

  • Judith returns to her town, proclaims victory.

Of course there’s more to the story, worth reading for sure!

Hope you catch the movie of Artemisia Gentileschi sometime, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0123385/  and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment here. -Lenore